I love airports, and I miss them. I’m serious. I still have a kid-like fascination with the very concept of an airport. The moving walkways, the arrival and departure boards, airplanes taking off outside of the windows. You walk through a door in Seattle and you walk out a door in Bangkok.
And still there are people who don’t believe in magic.
Calendars are a lot like airports. You walk through one portal at the end of the year into a new adventure in the next. This year is far from over, but there is a bit of a time warp in our way, a wormhole that seems destined to land us in 2021. So as you plan to hop off of Flight 2020 and saunter over to Flight 2021, it may be a worthwhile exercise to think through a few tips to ensure a great trip.
Regardless of where you end up in 2020, next year won’t be a clean slate. How our scenario will be different I won’t chance the speculation, but the shadow of Covid-19 will persist for a while. Planning in the dark can be difficult, but it is nevertheless critical. Next year’s business plan, more than ever, can’t be fixed in stone but will have to be more of a moving target.
Maybe most important of all, review your associates. Take a look at your partnerships both internally and externally. Look at employees, clients, and suppliers. There is no more important element in your business life than the people with which you surround yourself. In short, people either power your company or they drain your company. They make your business (and personal) life easier or they don’t. They assist you with being energetic and creative, they support your efforts with enthusiasm, or they don’t.
But YOU are the one who chooses your 2021 traveling companions, so choose wisely.
I have seen remarkable leadership over the past four months. I have seen innovation and I have seen goodwill. Not only have those lights given me great hope, it has renewed my faith in our industry. There is incredible talent surrounding us, and once travel again commences, I will chance the prediction of a plethora of new product and new ways of communicating with your clients.
There is every sign of incredible pent-up demand to travel. Already domestic travel is starting to buzz. I have planned a short excursion in July, and the first hotel I tried to book was already sold out.
During what is left of a ragged 2020, resolve to educate yourself. Take a course in sales, marketing, or customer service. Attend webinars. read and continually seek out new opportunities for growth. Most good trainers will coach you into remembering what you already know, but they will put it in front of you in such a way you can no longer ignore the need to incorporate the lesson into your travel practice.
Finally, take moments this year for gratitude. You have the great good fortune of being involved in an industry with the power to create life experiences, to bring families closer, to create cultural understandings. In a politically divisive and angry world, you stand for unity. There is a great deal for which to be thankful.
You are now approaching Flight 2021. Buckle up, you know how a seat belt works.
Many thanks for being with us so far this year. You have made the journey far less difficult. Let’s keep moving forward, keep the lights on. Never give up.
Who knows, maybe we will land a bit ahead of schedule. Hang in there.